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Four teenage siblings start business in Roanoke County to help pay for college

By David Kaplan, dkaplan@wdbj7.com
Published On: Jun 10 2014 09:53:12 PM EDT
Updated On: Jun 11 2014 09:43:50 AM EDT

Teenagers run snow cone business in Roanoke County

ROANOKE CO., Va. -

It's a business that's three weeks old and already thriving in Roanoke County.

A Snow Cone business  would expect to do well in these hot summer months.

But who's running this one may surprise you.

The place is craftily called Miami Ice, located off of Brambleton Ave.  For you '80s TV fans, it's a fantastic pun for sure.

However, the owners of this place missed the show by a few years.    

Dan Smith and his wife Maria saw a great business opportunity.

"It turned out to be actually a good business you could get into relatively inexpensively," Dan said.

They had the land behind Maria's business, all they did was buy the trailer and the first batch of syrupy goodness.

By all accounts the business is doing well. Which is especially impressive considering it's not Dan and Maria Smith running the store.

It's their four kids.

"They're trying to get us to do it on our own, so it's like that independence factor," said Ryan Smith.

"It really is kind of our parents giving it to us, saying this is yours, take it and run with it," said Ryan's older sister Sarah, a student at Liberty University.

Sarah, 19, Ryan, 16, Eric, 15, and Hannah, 14 run the whole business by themselves.

Mom and dad paid those start-up costs, but the rest is now up to them.

"I'm in charge of the scheduling and a lot of the deposits, inventory stuff. There's a lot more than you realize, than just making the Snow Cone, there's a lot of stuff that has to go on to make sure it all runs smoothly," Sarah said.

"They formed the LLC, they got the bank accounts, they got the business license. They've done absolutely everything," father Dan said in awe of his four kids.

The business has its ups and downs.  Some times are slower than others, sometimes a bird gets stuck in the bouncy castle like when we were there and sometimes siblings are siblings.

"It's good sometimes," said Ryan of working with his siblings, " but other times, it can be stressful. Especially when they don't listen to you as much as you want to."

"I mean obviously we're siblings so we're going to get into it every now and then but it's really fun to hang out with them every day, really cool," Sarah said.

"It's really amazing, seeing them kind of band together and work as a team and really put out an amazing amount of effort and work into this," Dan Smith said.

Some people may look at Dan and Maria Smith and think they were crazy for giving their kids this responsibility.

They'll tell you the ice has been nice in more ways than one.

Perhaps the best part of this venture, all this work, all the money the siblings are raising from this business venture is going straight toward their college funds.